On Monday 5th March 2012, a video was uploaded to Youtube and almost instantly went viral. The video’s makers were hoping for 500,000 hits this year. As I write this on Saturday 10th March at 4pm, there have been 60,364,287 views. They have already had TV specials on it, radio interviews done and a huge discussion on social media. Of course with 60 million views, even if 99% of viewers are fans and only 1% are critical, it still means 600,000 people are putting out the negative vibe with critical blogs etc. You can view one here. Then there are the blogs that answer the critics, released from the organisation themselves. Read it here.
So what do I think of Kony2012?
1) It’s about changing the situation for Children and that’s got to be good.
From a Christian perspective, James 1:27 says
Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.
So as I watched this video, my heart went straight to the children. I was very moved by the quote out of the clip, “Where you live should not determine whether you live”. One thing that is not in dispute, is that there is a significant problem in certain African countries, in particular, Sudan and Uganda, in relation to the welfare and safety of children. They are being exploited and it’s not right. I watched a movie just last week titled Machine Gun Preacher.Here is the Trailer. This is based on a true story and the preacher the movie is based on is preaching at Elevation Church on the Gold Coast in a few weeks time. The Machine Gun Preacher is about a preacher who goes to Sudan and sees pretty much the same thing as is documented in Kony2012. As Christians, God makes it our business how children are being treated. This is why Nowra City Church has been actively and financially involved in helping Ugandan Orphans through Irene Gleeson’s ministry Kitgum and rescuing children from the child sex slave trade in Cambodia through SHE Homes of Restoration.
2) The Kony2012 clip is an example of a Post Modern Generation’s protest. It’s non violent and calls on people power. I am not drawing parallels with Ghandi, but I do wonder if Ghandi or Martin Luther King Jr were running their protests today, how would they use Social Media. Would it be something like this protest.
Time Magazine’s Person of the year for 2011 was the Protestor. Kony2012 is an example of protesting and mobilizing people power through the use of Social Media. This is a great example of the power of Social Media being used for good. Imagine if Billy Graham could have preached his messages in the 60’s,70’s and 80’s at a rate of 60 million a week. I personally think Christians have to get smarter about using Social Media to communicate the saving message of Jesus Christ to a Post Modern World.
3) Prayer. The third takeaway that I got from Kony2012 was the need for prayer. There is great power in protesting and mobilizing people power. There is greater power in prayer.
4) The removal of borders of Nation States. When I was growing up in the 80’s, the term Global Village started to be used. Now with the invention of the Internet in the 90’s and the explosion of Social Media, the Global Village just got a whole lot smaller. No longer can we say, well its happening “over there” and therefore not be held responsible for inaction. The problems of the world are now at the end of the mouse and therefore we have a responsibility for action. Now that action may be awareness, prayer, promotion of a cause, joining the protest, petitioning elected powers, writing letters, donating money or some other form, but we must not bury our head in the sand.
5) There is tension between the West helping and the West being paternalistic. How does the West help without coming across as paternalistic or trying to force their values on African, Middle Eastern or Asian countries, who have a completely different world view. Kony2012 is kind of like Captain America is here to save the day. I don’t have an answer to this tension.
6) I was disappointed with the members of Congress’s response – “if its not a threat to USA or our interests, then we are not interested in helping”.
7) The problem in Uganda is immense. The problems around the world are immense. We can feel small when we look at the issues that are throughout the world. But to succumb to the enormity of the problem is to fail the one – to quote a friend of mine. We should not be intimidated by all the problems we face. As individuals we may not be able to change the entire world, but we can change someone’s entire world.
8) Kony2012 shows once again the existence of evil. If you ever doubted whether there is a devil, then Kony2012 should quell that. Inevitably the question then is asked – where is God in all this? Why does God allow evil? Well there is a whole theological dissertation in that question right there. My simple explanation that I hold to is this. When Adam and Eve sinned, evil entered mankind. Now this was a dilemma for God as now what He loved had what He hated inside. So if He destroyed what He hated, He would also destroy what He loved. So He sent Jesus to deal with the internal issue inside of mankind and deal with what He hated so that He could be in relationship with what He loved. Sounds confusing, but I appreciate God’s patience with mankind – so that we all have an opportunity to come into relationship with Him.
So there are a few of my thoughts.
If you haven’t seen the video clip – Here it is.
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